Despite a plethora of protests from animal activist groups over the past decade, the global fur trade is on the rise.
According to a 2012-13 study unveiled this week by Pricewaterhouse Coopers Italy into the value of the fur industry that was commissioned by trade association the International Fur Federation, the global fur market has now been valued at more than $40 billion worldwide — roughly the same as the global Wi-Fi industry.
The research is the first to analyze the fast-evolving fur sector, looking beyond retail sales at traditional fur stores to also include department stores, designer boutiques, accessories stores and sporting goods stores. These figures also reflect the immense worldwide economic value of fur farming and production, which have historically been very difficult to measure. The study reported that global fur retail sales are estimated at $35.8 billion, while farming is valued at $7.8 billion, and total employment in the sector is more than 1 million.
According to the Fur Information Council of America and the Fur Council of Canada, sales by traditional retail fur stores in North America were $1.7 billion in 2013, a 10 percent increase over 2012. If fur trim and accessories sales through fashion boutiques, ski and sporting goods outlets, luxury shoe shops and department stores are factored in, total fur sales in North America are estimated to have topped $4 billion in 2013.
Mark Oaten, chief executive officer of IFF, said the study demonstrates the “unquestionable value the fur trade brings to the global economy.
“It is easy to get caught up in the emotions the business can generate, but the truth is that the fur trade is a global economic cornerstone,” he asserted.
A good deal of the renewed interest in fur is due to the fashion industry, according to the report. Fur appeared in more than 70 percent of the fall designer collections and posted significant growth in the home accessories category.
To help bolster the spike in fur sales, the IFF launched a global advertising campaign in the March 28 issue of The Economist magazine that appeared in every international edition of the publication. The graphic black-and-white ad —which shows no fur or animals — highlights the economic value of the global fur trade, and says, “The Simple Fact Is: The Global Fur Trade Is Valued at More Than $40 Billion.”